Regulation of Food and Drink Advertising to Children
What is the current situation?
The regulatory system for food and drink marketing to children is complex and does not adequately protect our kids from the large amount of persuasive food and drink marketing. Marketing to children is governed by a mix of statutory regulations, and regulations that are jointly administered by the television, advertising and food industries.
Our friends at the Obesity Policy Coalition are lobbying hard to improve the current regulations in order to restrict all forms of advertising and promotion of unhealthy food and drink to children. Read more about the issues in their food advertising legislation blueprint.
Currently, the only legally enforceable (statutory) regulations around TV advertising to children are the Children's Television Standards. The Standards are administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), however the provisions apply only to advertisements that are screened immediately before, after and during programs rated C (for children) and P (for preschoolers).
The problem is that most children under 14 years old watch TV shows that aren't C or P rated, such as Australian Idol or Junior MasterChef. This means that at the times of day when the largest number of children watch TV, advertising is not regulated by the Children's Television Standards.
More information on the Children's Television Standards is available online.
In addition to the Children's Television Standards, there are various other codes governing advertising to children. These codes are self-regulatory in nature, and developed and administered by the television, food and advertising industries.
For further explanation of the organisations involved in regulating food marketing to kids, and the regulations or codes for which each is responsible, click here.
Want to make a complaint about inappropriate food advertising to children?
See Food Marketing to Children in our Use Your Voice section.